Are You Suffering From PTSD After a Car Accident?
A car accident can result in many types of injuries. Broken bones, bruises, cuts, and whiplash often occur after these collisions. However, not all car accident injuries are physical. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition that develops after a person experiences a scary, shocking, or dangerous event, is also common among car accident victims. If you believe that you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, treatment is available.
What is PTSD?
Different people react to traumatic events in different ways. Some people can recover from these initial symptoms of fear, anxiety, and stress without needing further treatment. In many cases, however, symptoms of trauma linger for a long time after the event. If these symptoms linger for more than a month and are severe enough to impact relationships, work, and daily life, the person likely has PTSD.
Many types of traumatic events can trigger PTSD, such as physical or sexual assault, childhood abuse, and active combat. Accidents, including motor vehicle collisions, can also trigger this condition. According to an article in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease , approximately 39.2% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD after a collision.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
Medical professionals classify PTSD symptoms into four categories: re-experiencing; avoidance; arousal and reactivity; and cognition and mood. For a doctor to diagnose a person with PTSD, he or she must have experienced at least one or two symptoms in each of these categories for at least 1 month.
People with PTSD often experience symptoms that remind them of the traumatic event, causing issues with their daily routines. To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have experienced one of these symptoms for at least one month.
Common re-experiencing symptoms include the following.
- Frightening thoughts
Many people with PTSD go to great lengths to avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event, which often trigger re-experiencing symptoms. These behaviors are known as avoidance symptoms, and to be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have experienced one of these following for at least one month.
- Actively staying away from places, situations, or objects that remind you of the event, such as driving
- Avoiding thoughts or emotions related to the event
Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms
Arousal and reactivity symptoms occur consistently rather than being triggered by a memory or situation. You must have experienced at least two of the following for at least one month.
- Feeling tense
- Having angry outbursts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Being easily startled
Cognition and Mood Symptoms
Cognition and mood symptoms develop after the event and affect a person’s relationships. To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have experienced at least two of the following for at least one month.
- Difficulty remembering the traumatic event
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or blame
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Negative thoughts and feelings
Seek Help for Collision-Related PTSD
PTSD symptoms can develop soon after a car accident, but they can also begin months or even years afterward. If you experience any symptoms of PTSD, you are not alone, and help is available. Speak to a mental health professional as soon as possible.
If your car accident was caused by another driver, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party and recover the compensation you need to pay for PTSD treatment and other losses. As soon as possible after your accident, contact a Texas car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.